DALLAS – Season 1, Episode 2 – “Lessons”

There’s a lot of lessons to be unpacked here. It’s a snowy day at Southfork and Lucy rides a horse out to the mailbox to steal and then burn a letter from school about her truancy. If this was really how schools addressed truancy in Texas in the 70s, I see what they’ve had so many issues about including facts in their history books now. My school called my mom if I missed one period.

Really, school district?

This has been clearly going on for a while, since Jock mentioned it last episode. So why couldn’t Jock or Miss Ellie take her to school?

Bobby is teaching Pam to ride a horse. I knew she was poor, but it seems a bit much she’s never been on a horse before. Ray comes up and complains about having to take Lucy to school. Is he unknowingly making an idiom for sex?  Bobby says they’ll be done with breakfast in an hour and Lucy will be ready. What time zone are they in? Lucy had time to saddle a horse, ride to the mailbox in the snow and burn a letter, and Bobby had time to teach Pam to ride — yet they haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet?

Breakfast conversation is all about Lucy’s truancy until Lucy shows up. The cold air must have kept the smell of smoke off of her. Sue Ellen points out Lucy’s inappropriate attire — a marginally-tight blue sweater and jeans. It’s not as though she had a micro skirt on. She smiles about Ray coming to take her to school. This is definitely an idiom.

Miss Ellie complains to Pam over coffee that she knows Lucy is skipping school that Lucy even forgets to take books with her sometimes. If you SEE something, SAY something, Miss Ellie! Good grief! She also says she knows Lucy sneaks home to the stable to go riding. And, another idiom is born! Pam decides she’s going to butt in and make Lucy go to school.

All I ever need in life is coffee with Miss Ellie.

Lucy seduces Ray in the truck, and turn around and head back to the stable for some … school-going time. When Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen head off to do Rich People Things, Pam fields a call from Lucy’s school. They’ve discovered the telephone!

She busts Ray and Lucy in the stable and takes Lucy to school, after some blackmail. Pam says Lucy runs wild because everyone feels guilty over Gary running away. I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate, but we’ll go with it.

Bobby’s been reading the Red Files. He starts asking questions about votes in the Lone Star Oilmen’s Association and why J.R. wins all the time. Ominous music plays when J.R. decides he has to think about something. These voting records never show up again after this episode, so don’t worry, J.R. — you don’t need to think of anything.

Just a thought … maybe hide important things in the less obvious manilla files.

At school, Pam meets Mr. Miller, one of Lucy’s teachers who wants to help Lucy in school. This is NOT an idiom, but it gives Lucy an idea. After school, a boy named Roger approaches Lucy and offers to tutor her. This IS an idiom.

It’s a contentious rode back to the Ranch, and Lucy doesn’t like any of the new, school-appropriate attire Pam bought her. Pam drops Lucy off and goes to tell Ray not to sleep with Lucy anymore. Years later, we’ll see this is an excellent idea, as Ray is actually Lucy’s half-uncle.

PROBLEMATIC 70’S ALERT. The next day, Lucy runs out of Mr. Miller’s office claiming he attacked her. Pam goes to see what’s up, not trusting the victim. Miller’s about to lose his job, unless Pam can make Lucy tell the truth.

There are better ways to get out of school, Lucy.

Now, I get it. #metoo is a long way off and we clearly SEE Lucy cutting and ripping her blouse in advance. And Pam KNOWS Lucy is untrustworthy. However, just as the Braddock County schools are mailing truancy notices and Texas students end up learning dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark, we can’t victim blame, Pam.

Bobby confronts J.R. about the Association minutes, but instead, J.R. claps back about how while Bobby was pimping for Ewing Oil, he was running the business. He talks about the power of persuasion and tells Bobby he will do what he wants and not to ask him questions about what he does. Now we’ll never know what he was up to with the Association!

Resting J.R. Face

Pam catches up with Lucy on the snowy Southfork driveway and they have time for a long conversation. Lucy will agree to clear Mr. Miller IF Pam starts covering for her truancy. Pam just can’t let Mr. Miller suffer, so tacitly agrees. 

At dinner, J.R. makes a dad comment about her new school-appropriate outfit that Pam selected. Sue Ellen smiles and snarks about Pam’s years working retail. Not everybody can do the beauty pageant route, Sue Ellen!

Oh, Sue Ellen …

A call from Roger brings the blackmail full-circle. He knows Lucy lied and if she doesn’t go on a date and put out, he’ll tell everyone. The theme of good and bad persuasive behavior is being hammered home tonight!

Bobby convinces Pam to go to the new disco in Braddock. Down in the driveway,  Lucy convinces the date-rapist to go there, too – because dancing makes her very affectionate. This is all very ewww.

The Braddock disco, however, is the 70s delight I hoped it would be. Records spin, camera angles are askew, and blinky blinky lights are everywhere. The music is stock music-generic, but it will get better, I promise!

All bars should be like this.

Ray shows up with a blonde woman. Except for Pam, Ray definitely has a type. Ray is wearing a bright red neckerchief that would make a completely different statement in a gay bar of the time.

As Ray and his date make their way through the crowd, a disco-fied version of the Dallas theme starts playing. This gives me some meta-bliss. Lucy is dancing to her family’s television show theme song. It’s like seeing a Real Housewife in person and they say their tagline.

I miss the 70’s.

Lucy sees Ray and says she needs help. I’m surprised Ray can resist her. Lucy’s lip gloss is strobing with the reflected disco lights and is probably more will-sapping than the Hypnotoad.

This is when, of course, Bobby and Pam walk in. Their dancing is nothing short of penultimate 70s. Pam shimmies, Bobby moves back and forth and smiles that smirky “I’m getting some tonight” smile that you usually reserve for strangers you’re trying to seduce with your moves and not your new bride. 

Pam sees Roger dancing with Ray’s date and immediately has to go talk to him. If I were Bobby, I would wonder why my wife is talking to a high school kid. It comes out that Lucy is talking to somebody and Pam puts two and two together. So does Bobby, when he sees Lucy all over Ray, and Ray, caught in the spell of the HypnoGloss, isn’t really pushing her away.

A short fight ensues – mainly Bobby punches Ray and Ray admits he had that coming.  Ray wonders if this isn’t more about his past with Pam, and Bobby just looks pensive.

Pam catches up to Roger and she has figured out somehow that Roger knew the truth about Mr. Miller and was just trying to get some. Pam lays down the law and threatens Roger with a beatdown from Bobby.

Filled with self- righteousness, Pam is hurt when Lucy calls her out for just trying to use her. Bobby forces Lucy to see the truth that Pam does care about her. Bobby admits the family doesn’t have time for Lucy, and that Pam is basically going to be her new mommy figure.

Bobby says they can talk later, but now it’s time to boogie!

What lessons did we learn? That blackmail seems to be the currency of choice in the Ewing circles. That Lucy isn’t good at blackmailing. And that we’ll NEVER know what was going on with those Association votes!

Capice Moment – Oddly enough, it’s the disco as we freeze-frame over everyone dancing.

See you at the disco next week!

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